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Gen. David Petraeus on whether he wishes Bush-era interrogation techniques were available to him for the questioning of captured Taliban military leader Abdul Ghani Baradar:

Whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside….Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are nonbiodegradables. They don’t go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick in the Central Command area of responsibility. Beyond that, frankly, we have found that the use of the interrogation methods in the Army Field Manual that was given the force of law by Congress, that that works.

Conservative Mike Potemra, responding at National Review to critics who insist that he offer a clear definition of what he considers torture:

Instead of trying to find a definition, and to get everyone to agree to it, I ask myself the following, about any given interrogation practice: “If agents of Fidel Castro’s regime, or of China’s laogai, engaged in this activity, would I condemn it as torture?” That, I think, is the wisest course, because asking this question prevents me from endorsing acts that might be evil simply because it may be in my own self-protective interest (as an American who doesn’t want to be injured or killed in a terrorist attack) to do so.

As Potemra says, it isn’t hard to define torture if you’re honest with yourself. And as Petraus says, it isn’t hard to figure out that regardless of whether or not it produces short-term gains, torture nearly always plays into your enemies’ hands in the longer run. The case against torture is both profoundly moral and concretely pragmatic and always has been.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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